Adobe Creative Cloud

August 22, 2016 /

2016 MAX Speakers DKNG: An Inside Look into Branding Outside Lands

We’re excited to welcome back DKNG Design Studios to MAX for the second year in a row. We first heard them speak at the first Los Angeles Adobe Creative Jam, and were blown away by the identity they created for San Francisco’s famous Outside Lands music festival, a 3 day concert that hosts an amazing lineup, everyone from Radiohead to LCD Soundsystem to Lionel Richie. We wanted to get an inside look into what it’s like to design for a festival of this magnitude from start to finish — everything from the website, to the onsite branding of stages, merchandise and numerous activities onsite.

Q: How long has DKNG been doing the branding for Outside Lands?

A: The 2016 festival marks our third year of designing the branding for Outside Lands.


Q: How do you approach the project? How do you differentiate year to year? 

A: A recurring project like this is challenging since each year’s branding needs to feel fresh, yet still have continuity with the look and feel of previous years. Certain elements carry over from year to year, so it’s important for new design elements to also jive with existing artwork. The goal each year is to have the branding represent the range of activities the festival has to offer, along with the unique setting of Golden Gate Park. From there, it’s a matter of establishing a style and composition that can easily be broken apart and that work well in varying formats and applications. That’s everything from website headers, to app icons, on-site signage, and a range of merchandise. This year’s visual theme of embroidered patches was chosen since it could also transfer well to physical merchandise.

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Q: I would imagine there are a ton of components to a project of this size and scale — can you talk about how you the challenges of working on something of this magnitude? 

A: Our biggest takeaway after the first year of working on this project was understanding how modular and versatile the identity needs to be, since it spans so many different mediums and applications. There’s a lot of planning involved, starting with the logo and admat which get established about six months prior to festival. After those initial designs are completed, they serve as a style guide for everything else that’s created in the following months. The merchandise sold at the festival is usually the last stage of the process, which often stems from the branding but in some cases are their own standalone design projects.

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Q: You both work in different locations, right? How do you make that collaboration between the two of you work?

A: Earlier in 2016 we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of DKNG, so by now we have a bit of a shorthand as far as our collaboration goes, even though we live in different cities (San Francisco and Los Angeles). We speak daily and share our files using DropBox so it’s easy to keep track of each other’s progress. As far as our collaborating within projects, Dan has more of a fine art background and focuses on illustration while Nathan has a graphic design background and contributes the design and typographic elements to projects. We tend to art direct each other and pass files back and forth until we arrive at a finished product.


Thanks, Dan & Nathan! We’re excited to have you back at MAX this year!

You can register for DKNG’s MAX session, “The Proof is in the Process: Secrets of Effective Illustration Workflow” here.